Showing posts with label Boston Tea Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boston Tea Party. Show all posts

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Scituate MA 1956 Gun Powder Tea Party

Of course, you’ve heard about the Boston Tea Party, a protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston Harbor on 16 December 1773 against the British Tea Act. But did you know there was a Second Boston Tea Party in American history?
And did you know they used tea from the original Boston Tea Party?
In 1956, nine men gathered in Scituate, Massachusetts, for the Second Boston Tea Party. Colonel Charles Wellington Furlong (1898-1966) hosted the event at his home “Eight Gables” on Old Oaken Bucket Road.
Read my post on GenealogyBank Blog:  Second Boston Tea Party Held – in 1956!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rhode Island: First to Rebel, Last to Sign

Another Great Share from Jo Ann Butler 
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Declaration of Independence signing
Did you know that Rhode Island was the first North American colony to sever ties with Great Britain – two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776?  However, Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  What’s up with that?
Roger Williams and Narragansetts
My immediate conclusion stemmed from the independent nature of Rhode Islanders.  The colony was settled by people who were either ejected from, or voluntarily abandoned Puritan Massachusetts after heated contention over – what else? – politics and religion.  Banished from Boston, Roger Williams beat it out of Salem ahead of the sheriff in 1636.  Anne Hutchinson, William Coddington, John Clarke and their compatriots comprised a mass exodus in 1638-39.  Religious and political tolerance were vital to these people.

Some of them had their idiosyncrasies.  Early Rhode Island was comprised of several towns circling Narragansett Bay, each led by charismatic leaders.  There were quarrels and dissension, but despite their ferocious independence, the various towns of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations united under a single government in 1647.

1663 Royal Charter
In 1663 King Charles II issued a new charter to Rhode Island.  The document reinforced Rhode Island’s freedom of religion, and granted them the ability to elect officers and enact laws – greater powers of self-rule than any other colony.

Gaspee burning
18thcentury Newport and Providence prospered as seaports, and Rhode Island became the northwestern linchpin of the Triangle Trade.  The colony had a reputation for shady shipping practices, smuggling, and harboring pirates.  In 1764 Great Britain’s Sugar Act strengthened trade regulations and raised the duty that Rhode Islanders paid for their molasses.  Resentment grew, and in July 1769 the sloop Libertywas sunk and burned in Newport harbor.  The ship had once belonged to John Hancock, but was seized by British customs a year earlier because it was once used to smuggle wine (though apparently not by Hancock).  In 1772 the Gaspee, a British customs boat, went aground and was burned near Providence.

Boston Tea Party
Boston’s Tea Party was on December 16th 1773.  In response, Great Britain’s Coercive Acts, known in America as the Intolerable Acts, soured relations further by closing Boston harbor until the tea was paid for, placing Massachusetts under direct royal governance, and quartering British troops in Boston homes.

The Intolerable Acts
On May 17th 1774 Providence’s leaders called for a general congress to resist Great Britain’s punitive policies.  Rhode Island’s General Assembly responded by electing Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward as delegates to an anticipated Continental Congress.  Providence held its own Tea Party on March 2nd 1775, and burned 300 pounds of India tea by “bringing in and casting into the fire, a needless herb, which for a long time has been detrimental to our liberty, interest, and health.”

A month later, after the battles at Concord and Lexington, Rhode Island’s government raised a navy of two ships, 24 cannons and swivel guns, crewed by 200 men.  At the same time, a 1500-man “army of observation” was also created, commanded by Nathaniel Greene.

Rhode Island state house
On May 4th in 1776, Rhode Island’s General Assembly met in the State House at Providence, and became the first American colony to renounce their allegiance to both Great Britain and King George III. Ten weeks later, on July 18, the Assembly ratified the Declaration of Independence.  Perhaps in an act of belated revenge, British forces invaded Newport in 1781, and seized the town’s land deeds, wills, and records.  The records were sunk in New York City harbor, creating endless frustration for historians and genealogists.

The British surrendered in 1781, and the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787.  Delaware was the first state to ratify the document in that year.  However, Rhode Island was slow to accept the Constitution, and did not sign until May 1790.  Why so slow?  I’ll get that post up soon!
Helpful links:
Rhode Island’s 1663 charter: USA State GEN
John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence:
Roger Williams and the Narragansetts: 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Harvard Finds Evidence of a Colonial Boycott Hiding in Plain Sight

Harvard Finds Evidence of a Colonial Boycott Hiding in Plain Sight By Eric Randall (From Boston Daily)

On October 28, 1767, Bostonians gathered at Faneuil Hall to discuss the Townshend Acts, a series of new taxes passed by the British Parliament, and decided they would produce and distribute several “subscription” papers, asking people to sign a pledge to boycott certain British imports. It would become one of several economic protests of British taxation in the years leading to the American Revolution (the Boston Tea Party perhaps most famous among them).
What happened after that meeting, though, wasn’t completely clear—How many Boston residents agreed to the boycott and who were they?—because researchers didn’t have the signatures. Then this past week, Harvard librarians discovered eight of the subscription papers hiding more or less where you might expect to find them … on the shelves of Harvard’s Houghton Library. Thanks to the rediscovery of a resource Harvard didn’t even know it had, historians can now pore over a list of 650 signatures to analyze just who was protesting British taxes in the tumultuous years leading up to the American Revolution.

“When Houghton opened in 1942 there was a big influx of collections of donations and things that were donated from other Harvard libraries, and so a lot of this stuff got sort of minimal cataloging,” says John Overholt,  curator of early modern books and manuscripts at Houghton. When those bare-bones records were digitized, some of the less well-documented ones couldn’t be automatically converted, which has required the librarians to make their way through a backlog over the years. That’s how Karen Nipps, Head of the Rare Book Cataloging Team, stumbled upon the signatures and recognized them as something special.
Until she did, historians could only guess, based on the British reaction, at how popular the protest to the Townshend Acts became. In The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence, historian T.H. Breen wrote:
Although surviving records do not make it possible to know for certain how many people actually signed the rolls in Boston, British official feared for the worst. Their comments suggested that “Persons of all Ranks” did in fact take this occasion to voice contempt for recent British legislation.
Thankfully, we know now that the British were right. We recognize many of the 650 signatures, and they do indeed represent people “of all Ranks.” One of them is an exciting, if unsurprising, presence on a list like this, that of Paul Revere (whose signature is pictured above.)
Others are more unexpected. Several signatories whose names we recognize ended up remaining loyal to the British Crown when the Revolution broke out, Overholt notes. “At some point things got too radical and they said ‘I’m out,’” he guesses.

There were also several female signatures in an era when women weren’t known for their political participation. “I was especially excited to see that,” Overholt says.
So what’s next for the documents? Well for one, standards for maintaining archives have changed since 1942, Overholt notes, so they’ll likely “spruce up” the place where they shelve the documents. Beyond that, “we’re very glad to make this important discovery available to scholarly study,” Overholt writes. In other words, have at it, historians.
For more signatures and images see A Revolutionary discovery in the stacks

Signatures on the boycott petition included merchants such as Joseph Sherburne and Royall Tyler; soon-famous patriots like midnight rider William Dawes and — in a portrait — Bunker Hill hero Joseph Warren; and dozens of Boston's unsung future revolutionaries: women. See Harvard Gazatte Revolutionary discovery

 The Week in Early American History
 Boston’s 1767 Non-Importation Pledge List Comes to Light